Carnival in Ticino, Engadin ski marathon among cancelled events

Watches & Wonders Geneva is the former Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) that takes place every year in the Swiss city. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

Authorities have announced that all events for the Carnival celebration in Ticino scheduled to start on Thursday have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. This follows other major event cancellations in several big cities.

This content was published on February 27, 2020 - 15:45

The Engadin Ski Marathon scheduled to take place on March 8 in Graubunden, has also been cancelled after two coronavirus cases were confirmed in the canton.  Some 14,000 athletes take part in Switzerland's largest mass sporting event. 

Meanwhile in Ticino, where the first case in Switzerland was found, two major ice hockey tournaments will be played without spectators. 

On Thursday, organisers of the first Watches & Wonders Geneva – the former Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) - also announced they were cancelling their annual watch fair due to take place from April 25-29, amid fears over the new coronavirus outbreak. 

The organisers said in a statementExternal link published on Thursday that they had cancelled the upcoming event in the Swiss city “to protect the health and wellbeing of all our guests, press, partners and teams”. 

“In view of the latest developments concerning the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it is the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie’s duty, as organizer of Watches & Wonders Geneva, to anticipate the potential risks that travels and important international gatherings could entail,” it said. 

Watches & Wonders Geneva brings together some 30 watch brands, including those of the multinational Richemont as well as other independent watchmakers. 

This is the latest Swiss watch event to be cancelled after the Swatch Group called off its “Time to Move” watch fair in Zurich, due to take place from February 28 to March 2, because of coronavirus fears. There is no news about whether the upcoming Baselworld watch fair will take place (April 30 to May 6). 

On February 17, the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions, which was due to take place at the end of March, announced that it had been postponed by six months due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

On Wednesday, the Geneva International Motor Show, which attracts around 500,000 people every year, issued a statement saying it would be going ahead as scheduled from March 5-15. This followed an evaluation of the situation with the cantonal health authorities, it said in a statement. However, there are reports that carmakers are reducing staff
attending Geneva's car show next week.

Travel restrictions and fears over the spread of the virus have already caused postponement or cancellation of other trade fairs, including the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Frankfurt's Light + Building fair and the Beijing Auto Show.

The new coronavirus has infected about 80,000 people worldwide and killed more than 2,700, the vast majority in China.  The Swiss authorities confirmed three new coronavirus cases on Thursday - including one in Geneva - taking the total to four across the country.

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